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A family member was using the blender this afternoon in the kitchen, and it suddenly stopped working, along with the rest of the outlets in the kitchen. I reset all the breakers, including the main, and it doesn't seem to have fixed anything. I tried resetting on of the 2 GFCI outlets in the kitchen and it went red. The other is slowly blinking green. Devices connected to the kitchen outlets, like the fridge and dishwasher, are flicking on and off. If I plug in a cell phone charger to one of the none-GCFI outlets (there are at least 2), that works, but plugging in a larger device does not work. What is going on?

I shut off the breaker just to be safe, and plan on calling an electrician in the morning.

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    What brand GFCI? Try unplugging everything and trip or test and reset the GFCI. – Ed Beal Mar 8 '18 at 23:07
  • Why would a GFI blink? – Mazura Mar 8 '18 at 23:18
  • By "all other devices" what do you mean?? Are you sure this can't simply be explained by one of your devices having a ground fault? – Harper Mar 8 '18 at 23:27
  • I suspect a defective circuit breaker - the contact is bad - probably arced a time or two and is now corroded/pitted. @Mazura your link does not indicate why a green light is blinking ..I would venture bad breaker contacts .. – Ken Mar 9 '18 at 8:34
  • @newton10471 Did you find the problem ? – Ken Mar 14 '18 at 7:51
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A larger device vs cell phone charger = higher current draw vs lower current draw.

You either have a bad GFCI circuit, or a faulty Circuit Breaker the latter is what I suspect.

The circuit breaker contacts have deteriorated possibly arced a time or two. This creates a high resistance to current flow - your phone charger works because it only requires a trickle of power and the contacts have enough conductivity to allow this trickle. The deterioration of the contacts do not conduct well enough any more that it cannot supply the higher amperage requirement of the larger device across the contact. I have seen this before.

I am going to suggest that you turn that breaker off and wait for your electrician - the possibility is that it has arcing which could cause a fire. Have your electrician pull that breaker out and see if it shows any signs of melting or burning on the side areas - it is possible it could have burned through. Better to be safe than sorry.

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    You also might check for loose wiring at the breaker panel and devices. If it is causing "blinking" on several circuits it may be a loose or disconnected neutral. Exactly where I can't tell you. You just have to go from outlet to outlet. I usually start at the panel and work my way upstream. – Retired Master Electrician Mar 9 '18 at 13:35
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Ground-fault circuit interrupters (GFCI) can be triggered by a current pulse, e.g. that from starting (or shutting) an electric motor. This is normal behavior and does not necessarily mean that there is an issue with the motor.

Be sure to unplug any device with a motor or transformer (e.g. blender, food processor, radio or refrigerator) and then reset all GFCI's on the circuit, because if a device with high inductance is left plugged into the circuit, it may immediately re-trigger the GFCI again as soon as the reset button is pressed.

To reduce the nuisance of false GFCI triggering, a snubber or surge-protector may help prevent the inductive kick from a blender, food-processor or refrigerator motor from triggering the GFCI. Caveat emptor: success with snubbers and surge-protectors depends on the inductance of the motor, sensitivity of the GFCI and rate of current change (di/dt). Sometimes it's just easier to reset the GFCI.

For that reason, though GFCI's are required in wet locations, e.g. kitchens, it can be problematic for refrigerators. When the fridge compressor cycles on and off, the GFCI can trip, leaving food to spoil. In the US, the NEC allows installation of kitchen refrigerators on a separate circuit without GFCI in private dwellings.

  • I unplugged the fridge, reset the breaker, and the whole circuit seems dead. Resetting the GFCI's at that point doesn't seem like an option because none of their LEDs are on. But when I plug the fridge back in, the strange flickering behavior starts up on the whole circuit again. I still don't know what's up. Does that clarify things at all? – newton10471 Mar 9 '18 at 1:59
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    Have you checked the breaker in the service panel ? – Stanwood Mar 9 '18 at 4:37

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